It's almost St. Patrick's Day, and recipes are popping up all over my favorite food blogs, and I thought this recipe for Shepherd's Pie would fit right in. Shepherd's Pies has a meat and vegetable filling, either made with ground beef or ground lamb, which is topped with a mashed potato crust. When I saw this recipe from Martha Stewart, I knew I wanted to try it.
This recipe is easy and made with ingredients that are usually refrigerator and pantry staples. I only had to pick up some authentic Irish cheddar from the store, and I was able to whip this up in no time. The only thing that takes a lot of time is all the vegetables that have to be chopped.
The only change to this recipe I made was to partially cook my ground beef before adding it to the pan. Recently, I was lucky enough to win a contest from Serious Eats. It was a Super Bowl contest, and the prize was 10 lbs of ground beef to use at your Super Bowl party. The beef was shipped in 2 lbs. packages, and we only used 4 lbs. on Super Bowl Sunday, so I had 6 lbs. sitting in my freezer. This was really high quality meat that contained a lot of fat and marbling, so if your beef has a high fat content, you may want to partially cook the meet before adding it to skillet to get rid of some of that extra fat. If your ground beef is very lean, this step isn't necessary.
I thought this was a hearty, homey dish that is quick and easy. Next time I think I will try add some peas in the dish as well. Happy St. Patricks Day!
Cheddar Topped Shepherd's Pie
- 2 lbs. baking potatoes (I used Idaho Russets), peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil
- 6 medium carrots, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
- 4 celery stalks, halved (if large) and thinly sliced
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 2 lbs. ground beef
- 1 cup water
- 3/4 to 1 cup whole milk
- 1 1/2 cups shredded white cheddar cheese (I used Kerrygold Mature Cheddar)
- kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees, place the potatoes in large pot and cover with salted water (about 1 inch above the potatoes). Cook until the potatoes are fork tender, about 15-20 minutes.
Meanwhile heat a 5 quart Dutch oven, or a large heavy-bottomed pot, over medium-high heat. Add carrots, celery, onion and thyme, season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Do not brown the vegetables. Add the flour and the tomato paste, cook for at least a minute to incorporate the flour and tomato paste. Add the beef and cook until it is no longer pink. Add 1 cup of water and bring it to a boil, simmer 1 minute. Pour the beef filling until a 9 x 13 baking dish.
Drain potatoes and return to the pan, cook over medium heat until the water is evaporated, about 1 minute. Keep stirring so the potatoes do not stick to the pot. Remove the pan from the heat and add the whole milk (start with 3/4 of a cup and add up to 1/4 cup more until the desired consistency is achieved), and 1 cup of the cheddar cheese. Mash until the potatoes are smooth and season with salt and pepper.
Drop dollops of the mashed potatoes over the beef filling, spread to the edges of the dish with a spatula (it won't be a very thick layer, but it will puff up a bit in the oven). Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Bake until the topping is browned and the filling is bubbling, about 15-20 min. (Mine was ready by 15 minutes). Let stand at least 5 minutes before serving.